Monday, June 18: Interviewed Canada’s Top Chef, Carl Heinrich, for County Grapevine Magazine by phone. Carl is one of six chefs who’ll be participating in Six Chefs and Six Barrels at Huff Estate. In the evening Deborah and I were invited by the Governor General to Roy Thomson Hall, where Order of Canada members were presented with the Queen’s Jubilee medal.
Tuesday, June 19: Spent three hours waiting for my 10:20 am appointment in the Fracture Clinic of St. Joseph’s Hospital to have my leg look at. The prognosis – exercise and time. Thankfully, no surgery.
To dinner with Deborah at Cava. Chef Chris MacDonald had prepared a menu to match the wines made by Ontario’s royal wine couple, Ann Sperling and Peter Gamble.
With the tapas we had a glass of Southbrook Vineyards Rosé 2011.
Lightly seared albacore with cool climate rémoulade, with Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 2011 from Nova Scotia.
Crépinette of halibut cheek and Cape Breton snow crab, with Clos du Soleil Fumé Blanc 2001 (from Similkameen using Osoyoos fruit, 50% Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon)
Navarin of lamb neck, with Ravine Vineyards Cabernet Franc Picone Vineyard 2010 (the wine of the night)
Paella with rabbit sausage, sweetbreads, chanterelles and fresh snails, with Southbrook Vineyards Whimsy Winemaker’s Red 2008
Tarta of rhubarb and strawberry with miso–sour cream ice cream, with Sperling Vineyards Gewurztraminer 2009 (Okanagan)
An amazing meal, especially the crépinette of halibut cheek and Cape Breton snow crab.
Wednesday, June 20: A morning tasting at 11:30 am at Reds with Sue Hodder, Wynn’s Coonawarra’s senior winemaker.
- Wynn’s Coonawarra Chardonnay 2011: pale straw colour; minerally, white peach nose; light on the palate, fresh with citrus acidity; lovely texture, crisp and clean. (88)
- Wynn’s Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 2008: dense purple-ruby colour; a savoury nose of cedar, licorice, blackcurrant, plum and spice with al ick of vanilla oak. Full-bodied , nicely balanced with a firm finish. (89)
- Wynn’s Coonawarra Shiraz 2010: deep ruby colour; on the nose, iodine, black olive, blackberry and a touch of oak; juicy and fruity blackberry flavour with a suggestion of sweetness and a licorice note but finishing dry. (90)
- Wynn’s Coonawarra V & A Lane Shiraz 2009: deep purple colour that stains the glass; spicy nose of white pepper, blackberry and chocolate; lovely mid-palate fruit, juicy and fresh, medium-bodied and very elegant. (92)
- Wynn’s Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2008: dense purple-ruby colour; cedar and blackcurrant nose; sweet blackcurrant fruit, nicely balanced with lively acidity; finishes firmly but the tannins are a little green. (88)
- Wynn’s Coonawarra David Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2008: dense purple, staining the glass; cedary, plum, spicy and meaty nose; richly extracted black fruitflavours; full on the palate (90)
- Wynn’s Coonawarra John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 2008: dense purple, staining the glass; cedar and blackcurrant nose with floral and pencil lead notes; dry, elegant at the moment, austere and firmly structured. A majestic Cab; hold for at least 3 years. (92)
- Wynn’s Coonawarra John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 1993 (magnum): like a Ducru-Beaucaillou 1982 – great depth of colour; cedar, currants and cherry on the nose; very elegant, leafy, silky with supple tannins and lively acidity. Still youthful with great colour and supple tannins. (91)
In the afternoon I wrote an article for Tidings about the new wines in Hungary. For dinner with lamb chops, Pezoules Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 from Greece (floral, plum and cedar nose; medium-bodied, dry and savoury with a firm tannic finish. Well priced at $11.95 – 87).
Thursday, June 21: Wrote my Tidings Commentary on the Emilia-Romagna producer, Cristina Giminiani of Frattoria Zerbina. In the afternoon Elizabeth Wright of the Cottonwood Agency came by with the following wines from her portfolio (prices estimated).
- Terra de Paul 2009 (Tejo): Arinto, Fernao Pires, Antao Vaz): pale straw; minerally, dry, green nut flavour, fresh and full on the palate. (88) ($12.10)
- Jose Pariente Verdejo 2009 (Rueda): golden straw colour; spicy oak and peach aromas; mouth-filling, unctuous, ripe peach with spicy, lemony acidity with a toasty, nutty finish. (91) ($31)
- Bodegas Vidal Soblechero Clavidor Milbesos Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (Valladolid): light straw colour; leafy, earthy, floral, green mango; off-dry, passion fruit and mango flavours that finish with tart acidity. (89) ($16, 375 mL)
- Terras de Paul 2010 (Tejo – Syrah, Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alicante Bouschet) deep purple colour; creamy, spicy black fruit nose; floral, blackberry and blackcurrant. Full on the palate. Richly extracted with soft tannins. Great value at $13.85. (89)
- Terras de Paul Syrah Colheita Selecionada (Tejo): deep ruby colour; earthy, herbal, savoury, blackberry nose; dry, floral, blackberry and black olive flavours driven by lively acidity. (89) ($17)
- Formichi Camp’Albracco Toscano Rosso 2007 (100% Sangiovese): deep ruby with a tawny rim; earthy, pencil lead, dried cherry nose; medium-bodied, elegant, inky, dry, cherry flavour with mellow tannins. Old style Chianti. (89) ($22)
- Le Potazzine Brunello di Montalcino 2006: tawny ruby colour; truffle, cherry nose; elegant, spicy, cherry flavour, touch of tar with floral notes; beautifully balanced with loads of dry extract. Carries its 14.5% alcohol well. (92) ($74.45)
- Furlan Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Piave): dense ruby colour; cedar, red berry nose; medium-bodied, dry, savoury, minerally, leafy with green tannins. (86) ($23)
- Luigi Drocco Vigiu Rosso 2007 (Piemonte – blend of Nebbiolo and Barbera): ruby with a tawny rim; earthy, dry cherry nose; exciting change of flavours in the mouth from dried cherry to orange peel, firmly structured. (88) ($28)
- Finca Intimaya Merlot 2007 (Mendoza): dense ruby colour; grilled herbs, cedar, licorice, blackberry nose; full-bodied, concentrated, chunky mouth feel with blackberry and blueberry flavours with an intriguing floral note. A warm alcoholic finish. (88) ($26.50)
- Rocland Estate Duck Duck Goose Shiraz 2010 (Barossa): dense purple-ruby colour; minerally, spicy, chocolate, vanilla oak nose; cranberry, blackberry and dark chocolate flavours with vanilla oak and soft tannins with lively acidity. (88) ($16.95)
- Rocland Estate Grenache 2008 (Barossa): deep ruby; raspberry jam nose with a note of cedar; full-bodied, rich, sweet raspberry flavour, muscular but a little blunt on the finish with a warm alcoholic finish. (88) ($23)
For dinner, with pasta, Giacomo Mori Chinati Riserva Castelrotto 2008 (10% Merlot): deep ruby colour; cherry and cherry pit nose with a light floral note; velvety on the palate, dry with ripe tannins. (89)
Friday, June 22: Wrote my wine reviews for the October edition of Tidings. In the afternoon Dimitri van Kampen, President and Founder of the Spearhead Brewing Company, came by to show me his pale ale that will be sold by the LCBO in six packs. Lovely amber colour, a nose of grapefruit and pineapple. On the palate a distinct rose petal and lychee nut flavour, tastes like the Gewurz of pale ale. The beer is fermented with freshly pressed pineapple juice. Dimitri tells me he did a series of pinaeapple juice tastings to find the best one. He’s planning a Moroccan Brown Ale to be released in September , flavoured with dates, figs, raisins and cinnamon – “all the flavours of the Kasbah” – and a Belgian Stout brewed with Curaçao orange, coriander and Demerara sugar.
Saturday, June 23: After watching the blue Jays trounce the Florida Marlins 7–1 I decided to do some tasting:
- Mike Weir Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (Niagara Peninsula): pale straw colour; grassy, grapefruit and asparagus nose; dry, medium-bodied, grassy, peapod flavour, nicely balanced and fresh on the finish. (87)
- Emiliana Adobe Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (Casablanca Valley, Chile – $12.95): very pale, almost water white; green pepper and citrus nose; tart, gooseberry and lime flavour; mouth-freshening finish. (87)
- Cono Sur Bicycle Chardonnay Reserva 2011 (Casablanca Valley – $12.95): pale straw colour; citrus peel with note of oak on the nose; green pineapple and white peach flavours, fresh and tart on the finish. (87)
- Cono Sur Bicycle Merlot Rosé 2011 (Chile – $9.95): deep pink colour; cherry pit nose; initial sweetness gives way to a dry sour cherry finish. (85)
- Emiliana Adobe Reserva Rosé 2011 (Rapel Valley, Chile – $11.95): salmon pink colour; minerally, raspberry; soft on the palate with fresh acidity and cranberry and raspberry flavours; touch of residual sweetness in mid palate but finishes dry. Good value. (86)
- Masi Modello delle Venezie Rosato 2011 (Veneto – $10.95): light cherry colour; minerally, strawberry nose; raspberry candy flavour, easy drinking, finishing fresh and dry. (87)
- La Cadrièrenne Bandol Rosé Grande Tradition 2011 (Bandol – Mourvèdre 40%, Grenache 30%, Cinsault 30% – $17.95): pale salmon pink with a bluish tint; earthy, red berry fruit on the nose; full-bodied, assertive, cherry and raspberry flavours with evident alcohol and a firm finish. (87)
- Mission Hill Five Vineyards Pinot Noir 2009 (British Columbia): ruby with a tawny edge; cherry, beetroot, minerally with a tobacco leaf nose; dry, medium-bodied, red cherry flavour with lively acidity. (88)
- Château de l’Ille Cuvée Andréas 2008 (Languedoc – 40% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre, 20% Carignan, 10% Grenache – $16.95): deep ruby colour; smoky, earthy, meaty nose with a herbal note; dry, medium-bodied, savoury, black fruit flavours tinged with roasted herbs. Nicely balanced. (89)
- James Oatley Tic Tok Shiraz 2010 (Central Ranges, Australia – $15.95): dense ruby colour; spicy, vanilla oak, white pepper, crushed blackberries on the nose; dry, medium-bodied, acidic and a little short. (86)
Dinner, tilapia with Blue Mountain Chardonnay Reserve 2008 (straw-coloured with a green tint; apple, citrus and forest floor notes on the nose; comes on with the crisp, mouth-freshening citrus and green apple flavours of a Grand Cru Chablis with some fatness in mid palate (92)).